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Wwyd? Builder has ruined our wallpaper...

(23 Posts)
kitsmummy Thu 13-Jun-13 19:06:10

Will try to keep this brief...

We had our bathroom done a few months ago. They did a great job and are lovely people. While at our house they saw our bedroom ceiling, which is hanging and we knew would have to be replaced at some point (next 5 years or so we were assuming), and they said it looked really dangerous and needed to be replaced ASAP.

They quoted nearly £1000 and I asked if the wallpaper would be fine as it was sandersonand had been done the previous year (around £500 materials and £200 labour. Although I got a bargain and didn't pay that for the paper, that is what it would cost to replace now). I made it very clear when I asked about the paper and they said it would be fine, would be protected etc etc. their written quote specified a cost for protecting the paper.

So we went ahead and it was finished today and as you can guess, the paper is fairly knackered (it is a black background and has great swathes of grey over it which not coming off). Also at the ceiling edges where the plaster has gone onto the paper it has discoloured it. It is not100% glaringly obvious, anyone who didn't give a shit may not particularly notice but to me it is blindingly obvious.

Plasterer says he did his best, I say that I made my concerns about the paper v clear beforehand (he does not dispute this) and that whilst perhaps it could not be helped,I would have liked to have known this beforehand so could make an informed decision on what we wanted to do, instead of now being faced with the choice of living with fairly shitty wallpaper or stumping up another £700 to have it re-done.

He was stressed and said he would have to write off the bill and get nothing for 3 days work. I said I did not want to rip him off and pay nothing, but not sure what to do.

What is the fair thing to do in this situation? In fairness I think with loads more wiping and with the furniture covering up much of it, I could probably live with it but it will be a huge compromise on my part and not one that really I should have to be making...

pinksomething Thu 13-Jun-13 19:08:24

Shouldn't his public liability insurance cover it?

Cosmosim Thu 13-Jun-13 19:12:30

Did he say he'd do his best or did you ask him to guarantee there would be no damage and any damage incurred would be down to him? Because I don't think any plasterer would promise you the latter. They can't tell either, only guess based on past experience. Also it's very subjective as it doesn't look clearly ruined, just not right anymore (sympathies, this would also drive me mental).

kitsmummy Thu 13-Jun-13 19:16:45

He said the paper would be fine, it would be protected. Whilst guarantees weren't specifically mentioned it was very clearly stated that the paper would not be damaged

Flossiechops Thu 13-Jun-13 19:20:10

If he said it wouldn't be damaged and it is then you are perfectly entitled not to pay up, I would still pay for materials or deduct the cost of having the paper replaced. We have used Cole and Son paper in a couple of rooms and it was the last thing to go up through fear of it being damaged.

Apparentlychilled Thu 13-Jun-13 19:21:22

We had something similar with a cream carpet damaged by roofer. He said he'd replace it if he couldn't clean it. He got it cleaned. It's not perfect, but it's 99% there, and as I have young DC who are likely to trash it, I figured I can live with it for the next few years till DC are a bit older.

Could you ask him to try to clean the paper and if that doesn't work he can replace it/forego his wages?

kitsmummy Thu 13-Jun-13 19:26:51

Pink, not sure about public liability, he didn't mention it and floss, yes ideally we wouldn't have done it this way round either but we weren't planning on getting this done so soon...

The difficulty is that we like them and they're genuinely really skilled... Just obviously they misjudged this one.

Would a £300 reduction be ok do you think (if I can get the paper ok enough to put up with)

kitsmummy Thu 13-Jun-13 19:29:11

He's tried to clean it...gone over it3 times apparently and to get him to replace it would be £700 out of the £1000 bill and for some silly reason that would make me feel guilty!!!

Apparentlychilled Thu 13-Jun-13 19:32:38

It's business! Why shd you be out of pocket for his mistake?!

gamerchick Thu 13-Jun-13 19:41:13

I have read some things in my time on forums and that OP is the most ridiculous thing ever.

Who the hell expects pristine walls after a ceiling has been replaced?.. anybody with half a brain would realise that. It sounds as though the guys have done a stirling job in just discolouring it. You had a dangerous ceiling (I suppose it dropping on your head as you slept would have been preferable?) and now it's not.

I would ask why you didn't get the ceiling sorted before spending a silly amount of money on wallpaper but hey ho.

There are some lovely borders you can stick up around the edges, there's no way I would be charging 700 quid to repaper a bedroom when he's obviously been very careful.

His mistake was promising.. maybe he just didn't want you to die in the night or something.

kitsmummy Thu 13-Jun-13 19:44:36

Gamer hick, thanks for your reasoned response but I'll give the borders a miss ta love hmm

LEMisdisappointed Thu 13-Jun-13 19:46:30

He shouldn't have promised - was it just a plaster job, or was it removing the ceiling as well? If it was just plastering then it shouldnt be a problem to protect the paper. If the ceiling was being removed then i can't see how he could promise this without the paper being completely covered. My DP is a builder and whenever he has removed ceilings he comes home looking like he has been down a coal mine!

Reastie Thu 13-Jun-13 19:46:37

I think it's his mistake for saying it would be fine when he couldn't guarantee it would. We had a ceiling plastered a couple of years ago with similar circumstances to you (expensive wallpaper, didn't want to redecorate). The plasterer said he'd do what he could but couldn't guarantee the wallpaper would stay perfect. There are some marks and ideally it needs changing, but we knew this before he started working so it was our choice IYKWIM. I know you feel mean (I would too) but I think it's worth pursuing. i don't know how much is fair to get him to refund but I know with property letting if tenants mess up carpets/decoration etc there is a calculation (I imagine with googling you could find) to work out how much to charge the tenant for replacing which is based on cost to re do like for like and how old it is (you'd get less money for each year it gets older). Also if it is done through his insurance I presume they may organise their own decorators to redo the work (this happened to my parents although different circumstances a number of years ago and the quality of skill the decorators did on the wallpapering was pretty awful)

BrianTheMole Thu 13-Jun-13 19:49:13

Actually Gamer has a fair point. Is it actually possible to replace the ceiling without some damage to the wallpaper? And you did need it done if it was dangerous and likely to come down.

kitsmummy Thu 13-Jun-13 19:49:32

It's a new (false) ceiling as the original ceiling was pretty high so the room could take a lower one and it meant there wouldn't be the huge mess of original ceiling being ripped down (I know in that scenario the wallpaper wouldn't have stood a chance!)

kitsmummy Thu 13-Jun-13 19:51:50

Lem - it's just the plastering which has caused the problems. When he said the paper would be protected I assumed a plastic sheeting taped to it, but in reality he just put some masking tape around the edges where they met the ceiling

Cosmosim Thu 13-Jun-13 19:54:26

Hm, so he starts the job, notices your paper will be slightly damaged... Does he
1/ stop a few hours into it and say sorry but I'm not going to risk it because if your wallpaper is marked, that's 3 days working for free and not my problem about the mess or your dangerous ceiling
2/ does he do a half ass job as he is working for free

3/ does he do a good job expecting you to be reasonable and see that he's done his best and it's really not his fault you had a dangerous ceiling you didn't realise about before spending a fortune on your wallpaper

If this is a job that had to be done for safety reasons, then I doubt anyone would be able to do it without some damage to the wallpaper. I would suck it up because it needed to be done regardless whether it ruined the wallpaper or not.

inneedofrain Thu 13-Jun-13 19:58:15

Um, could he put up "proper" coving? Would that cover the worst of it round the top edges?

I love sandersons wallpaper and there is a black one that I adore!

I don´t think either of you is wrong to be honest, He did a good job and the best he could, but you want perfect wall paper which is going to be tricky when skimming a ceiling.

NeatSoda Thu 13-Jun-13 19:59:54

From a legal point of view, you have only contracted for what you have contracted which is:

The bedroom ceiling being done with no damage to walls

So you need to pay cost of ceiling, minus cost of redoing walls. That's it.

Please don't confuse the issue with 'ripping off' etc, you aren't to blame. nor are you expected to know what's involved in fixing a ceiling. If he (professional) told you walls would be fine then you are entitled to believe walls will be fine.

GrandPoohBah Thu 13-Jun-13 21:32:56

I concur with neat soda.

However, as mentioned above - is your property a period one? You could ask him to split the difference and put up some coving in keeping with the age of the property which ought to hide the damaged areas and will cost him a LOT less than replacing your wallpaper?

kitsmummy Thu 13-Jun-13 21:52:47

Hi, property is 1850s old pub, beams and exposed stone etc, so not really a coving style, but I have been having a go at the wallpaper and got it o a state I can live with, albeit with some marks and splodges that just won't come off. Have decided to pay £800, so just less than £200 knocked off. Builder v happy with this as accepts he cocked up and I'm ok with this as I don't want him to be too out of pocket and I know the ceiling needed to be done.

Thanks for all your advice, I think we've settled on a half way house that we're both ok with

BerylStreep Thu 13-Jun-13 21:59:29

You could try using Doktor Power pads, extremely carefully and lightly, to remove the plaster residue. Although try it in an inconspicuous spot first.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 13-Jun-13 22:05:42

Why was the original ceiling dangerous?

I realise it's a fair whack of money and I know you're probably going to want to kick me really hard when I say this, but it's just wallpaper. If the ceiling was dangerous then it needed to be done. That said, if he actually promised you that the walls would be fine, then he needs to pay up.

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